Google LLC today announced a small but potentially important email security update. Gmail is officially rolling out support for email logo authentication BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification), a year after it first announced plans for a BIMI pilot for Gmail.
You may now see brand logos in your Gmail inbox thanks to a new agreement between Google and the AuthIndicators Working Group, which created the Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI).
It’s adding full support for the emerging Brand Indicators for Message Identification standard in Gmail. BIMI, as it’s called, helps email recipients to know that the message they’re receiving is an authentic one.
Bank of America is among the launch partners for BIMI as it enters its broader support phase.
The developers of BIMI describe it as an “email specification that enables the use of brand-controlled logos within supporting email clients.”
The BIMI specification works by allowing companies to display their logos as an icon next to email senders’ names on every email they send. It’s meant to increase confidence in the source of emails.
BIMI is meant to leverage the work an organization puts into deploying DMARC protection by bringing brand logos to a customer’s inbox, according to the developers behind the project. The group is made up of a committee of companies working to add more authentication to inboxes as a way to offer more security to users.
Using BIMI, verified brands can elect to display their corporate logos prominently in the email avatar slot across email clients and service providers. For this to work, however, email service providers have to leverage BIMI, an emerging industry effort that is currently backed by notable members, including MailChimp, Twilio’s SendGrid, Valimail, Fastmail, Proofpoint, Verizon Media, and importantly Google.
Valimail chief product officer Seth Blank, chair of the AuthIndicators Working Group, said Vailmail employees are responsible for founding, naming, and resourcing the BIMI standard.
“We’ve been an avid supporter of BIMI since Valilmail’s founding in 2015. To improve the ecosystem for everyone, BIMI enables brands to deliver their logos alongside email messages to billions of inboxes worldwide, increasing customer engagement with those messages and boosting brand trust,” Blank said.
It’s a simple idea: If users see the official logo of, say, Bank of America Corp., they can trust that the message did come from that organization, rather than from some crafty hacker phishing for their bank login credentials.
“BIMI provides email recipients and email security systems increased confidence in the source of emails and enable senders to provide their audience with a more immersive experience,” Google wrote in a blog post today.
BIMI was available to Yahoo users but is now available to Gmail users, representing a massive expansion for the effort. BIMI will now be available to more than 2 billion inboxes through Gmail, AOL, Yahoo Mail, and Fastmail.